Electricity on the Playa

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Electricity on the Playa

Postby aojeda » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:54 pm

A major concern we have on the playa is power.

We are planning on having a few (read 10 or so) rope lights strung around our tent and shade structure (and an electric kettle) and still can't figure out the best way to keep it running... So I turn to ePlaya for some advise!

We thought of getting this battery from amazon:

http://amzn.to/nP1o8G

and attaching these solar panels to recharge it during the day:

http://amzn.to/pydBar

We also thought of getting a deep cycle battery and using this:

http://bit.ly/paO2Tl

A third option is combining the solar panels with the first (duracell) battery and using that.

Am I over thinking this and making it more complicated than it needs to be? Too much horse-power for just a few dangling lights and an electric kettle?

Thanks,
TUX
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:58 pm

Anything that heats with electicity is a controlled short circuit and will suck all your power in very short order.

Bring a propane stove.
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby mazatta » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:02 pm

What do you need the kettle for?
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby aojeda » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:07 pm

[quote="mazatta"]What do you need the kettle for?[/quote]

We are only bringing dry food and food we can prepare by adding hot water.
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby aojeda » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:15 pm

[quote="FIGJAM"]Anything that heats with electicity is a controlled short circuit and will suck all your power in very short order.

Bring a propane stove.[/quote]

Thanks, FIGJAM, that's the way we're going now!
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby some seeing eye » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:50 pm

The first Amazon item is an under powered non-durable overpriced type solution.

Suggest skipping buying stuff until you spend a burn researching at the AEZ - alternative energy zone and other camps. Their theory is that you will destroy your first solar-battery-charger system. If your town has a DYI solar group, that's a great approach too. And the AEZ has a message board for questions.

If you want to do something this year I would go with a deep cycle boat battery, a little red wagon for transporting it for charging it at Snow Koan Solar, and the most efficient inverter you can find (you can use the inverter in your vehicle year round), unless you have DC lights. A deep cycle battery is easily disposed of on CL if you decide you don't need it in the future. Wet cell will be cheaper, more advanced AGM may end up as part of your long term solar strategy, even for emergencies at home.

LED light strings can be .1 Watts per bulb and .1 Amp @ 110 Volts draw running total for a 100 light string, so investing in LED lights is a no-brainer and they are usable year round. You can test your run time against the lights at home and buy a second battery if needed, but 5 strings drawing .1 A each 10 hours is 5AH and a full size boat battery is 75-200AH. A marine battery box is a good idea. We have run a sound system at BM for a 4000 SF area off that size battery for 6 hours, no subs, digital amps, moderate volume, but as mentioned heating loads, like cookers, coolers, refrigerators and hairdryers will drain you dry.

Best!
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby gyre » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:07 pm

Or get battery powered LED strings and put a better pack on them, D cell or other.
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Re: Electricity on the Playa

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:13 am

It's sad enough that people are reduced to using electrical stoves at home (aside maybe from induction stoves, but even so), don't suffer that indignity on the playa especially when electricity is hard to generate, and it is better for powering your lights.

I second the idea for the deep cycle battery. They 220AH @6V (buy them as golf cart batteries at Costco) compared to a paltry 28AH and 12V on that Duracell battery system. Plus, Costco only charges $80 each. I also doubt that Duracell battery can even charge up from solar panels, because nobody would use them for that purpose. Just make sure you don't discharge the deep-cycle batteries below 50% if you want a long lifetime.

As for powering your LEDs, you'll need to do a little more thinking. You can try these kinds of methods for wiring to your battery. You'll have to do some wiring anyway to get it to work with a solar panel.
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